Al-Ahram Weekly Online   26 January - 1 February 2006
Issue No. 779
Egypt
 
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875

DISCOVERING QUEEN TIYE


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A beautiful black granite statue of Queen Tiye, mother of the monotheistic king Akhnaten, was unearthed last Monday in Luxor, reports Nevine El-Aref. At Karnak's Mut Temple, a John Hopkins University archaeological mission stumbled upon the statue while brushing sand off the temple's second hall.

"The statue is mostly intact," said Zahi Hawass, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), who added that although the 160cm tall statue has a broken arm and a missing leg, it was still considered very well preserved. It features a standing Queen Tiye wearing a wig and a cobra-decorated crown.

Initial examinations revealed that the back of the statue is engraved with two columns of hieroglyphic text bearing different titles of king Amenhotep III, who ruled for 38 years during the 18th Dynasty. According to Sabri Abdel-Aziz, head of the SCA's Ancient Egypt Department, the inscriptions written on the statue also include a cartouche of a 21st Dynasty queen called Henutaw, which reveals that the same statue was used in a subsequent era.

In other archaeology-related news, the SCA and the Luxor Supreme Council agreed to enlarge the road around the two famous Memnon statues on Luxor's West Bank; they also discussed the possibility of constructing a visitors' centre -- similar to the one at the Abu Simbel Temple -- at the entrance of the Valley of the Kings.

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